June 8 - World Oceans Day - a time to celebrate our oceans and raise awareness about the crucial role they play in all our lives whether we realise it or not!
The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.
Here at St Kilda we can't do much about climate change or acidification but we do our best to keep the marine environment surrounding the archipelago healthy. We take great care to ensure we do not pollute the sea; QinetiQ and NTS work together to send all rubbish and waste off island where it is disposed of appropriately, we clear the beach of litter, we monitor fishing activities, we use ecofriendly products and we've recently stopped providing plastic carrier bags in the shop due to the damage these can cause to marine wildlife.
I'd rather not focus on all the terrible things happening to the ocean just now, so instead here are some photos which provide a glimpse of the natural wonders below the surface of the water which most of us will never get to see during our stay on island.... It's biodiversity like this that we will soon lose if we don't take better care of our shared ocean.
Photos: Keith Waugh